Letter to the editor: Ella Simon

Opposition to Save Our Seas Act

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 12:45pm

I’m calling on our senators, Angus King and Susan Collins, and YOU to oppose the fraudulently named ​Save Our Seas 2.0 act​, Senate Bill 1982.

Living in coastal communities, our economies directly dependent on the health and beauty of the ocean, we need to oppose this bill due to four major flaws in the legislation:

1. ​This bill does nothing to reduce plastic generation​. The emphasis has been on increasing recycling. As of 2017, before China stopped accepting U.S. recyclables, our country’s highest recycling rate of plastics was an anemic 9.5%.

This bill props up our failed recycling system in this country. We need to focus on stopping the use of plastics all together, not trying to recycle more, because history shows we have not been successful recyclers of plastics.

2. ​We cannot solve climate change without reducing plastic pollution​. Hydrofracking is a booming industry in the U.S. It does tremendous environmental damage and now a byproduct of hydrofracking, ethane is being used to make plastic packaging.

Ethane cracker facility now being built in Pennsylvania and Ohio will make virgin plastics even cheaper.

3. ​The American Chemistry Council wants to waste federal money on conducting studies on the impacts of burning plastics​. We already know gasification and pyrolysis of plastics is not good for the environment because it releases high levels of toxins into the atmosphere.

4. ​This bill only supports U.S. intervention with other countries waste management after plastics have already been released into the environment​. We need to look upstream and stop the waste at its source, not collect it once it's already polluted the environment.

This bill may be brought to the house floor within the next few weeks, so I encourage you to write to our senators to get them to oppose this bill before its too late. We need a bill that quickly creates positive change, not one that delays making change. The plastic life cycle could account for up to 13% of the global carbon budget by 2050, we don’t have time to delay.

Ella Simon lives in Camden